By Fortune Eromosele
As Nigeria joins the World to commemorate this year’s World Sight Day, Non-Governmental Organisations, NGOs, have provided succour to students of the Junior Secondary School Area 11, Abuja, by donating 20 medicated glasses and providing free eye health care services for 100 students.
The contributions were made by four NGOs, which were, Leader Joe 1808 foundation, 360° CAL-Initiative, Mee&Cee foundation and Julebrama Women and Children Initiative, JUWACI.
Addressing newsmen, Executive Director, Leader Joe 1808 foundation, Mr. Joseph Onus, stated that a nation can only grow when a helping hand is extended, hence the need for the donations.
He said: “This is how a nation grows, where people come out to extend a helping hand to other people, when we do that, we Foster peace and unity in a country and we strengthen our ambassadorial pledge for the nation.
“We started this project about two months ago. We started with the screenings and tests, today we are distributing glasses for the infected students and screened over 100 children.”
He called on the federal government to create a form of synergy with the NGOs. “We want government to come up and synergise with the NGOs, because the government cannot be everywhere, we are the ones at the grassroots, therefore they have to work and strengthen the NGOs that are already on ground,” he said.
Delivering her lecture on eye health, Dr. Oluchi Ubani of the Alpha Zone Eye Clinic, sensitised the students on various eye health tips, where she said the donation of these glasses would help improve their eye health and not damage it.
She explained to them that they should try as much as possible to avoid scratching their eyes when it itches so as not to transfer bacteria to the eyes, enjoining the students to go for regular eye checks.
“Vision is an essential tool to live a quality life. And children have the right to good vision. And most children can’t express themselves until they visit the optometrist who is the primary eye health care giver.
“Reaching out to these children, partnering with Leader Joe foundation to provide free eye examination and also provide glasses for these children is a very huge stride and I encourage other institutions, individuals to walk in the same light.
“Today is World Sight Day, the government officials and different organisations are doing programs but I think more should be done in sensitization because I believe one of the major causes of blindness is disinformation. When people don’t have the right information, they can’t do anything, they follow wrong practices. The government should encourage agencies to do more and also bring primary eye care to the grassroots, I think it will go a long way to prevent blindness in Nigeria,” she stated.
Giving her appreciation for the sincere donations, the Principal of JSS Area 11, Abuja, Mrs. Fatimoh Gold, said “I’m so delighted and happy about this program, and also happy that Leader Joe Foundation finds joy in ensuring their eyes are being corrected, tested and given the correct medication.
“I expect the federal government to ensure that all these kind of programs spread all over the schools, they should try to partner all the NGOs that are doing these kind of things so that they will be able to initiate it to other schools, whether at the federal or state level.”
In the same vein, Project Coordinator Mee and Cee Foundation, Mrs. Vivian Amalu noted that the humanitarian gesture, is a collaborative effort to promote Sustainable and Development Goal 3.
Also speaking, Executive Director 360° CAL-Initiative, Mr. Success Ikponmwosa, stressed the need for government to use available NGOs as tools to reach out to the grassroots and provide social services.
He said, “I call on the government not to forget NGOs, because we can be tools in their hands to reach out to these schools at the grassroots and provide them essential services. Basically, we are urging them to look into these public schools because a whole lot of them are struggling, therefore this is where we come in to ease their struggles.
“If the government can fund us or better still recommend us to international donors that will look into our profile and see that we have track records of dealing with children for a very long time, then we can cover a lot.”